Welcome to Night Vale is unique in that it is a fictional podcast that led to a book. Fictional podcasts are rare enough, but they are fun. What I find is far more typical is that fictional books are read over a podcast. It is far more typical for the book to be written first and then for some type of audio format to be created from that book.
What I often enjoy is the enactment of a book. This is where the prose is turned into a screenplay. Instead of adaptation for a movie, the book is read over the podcast, radio, or audiobook format. I have done a few, but my favorite is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Here are the 5 reasons why:
- It was done by BBC radio, which has a strong history of doing these specific types of adaptations well.
- The cast is phenomenal. James McAvoy was the initial draw for me (I adore him). When I realized the rest of the cast, I was hooked: Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones and other awesome things), Anthony Head (who remains my favorite fictional librarian), Benedict Cumberbatch (if you don’t know him, then you are not paying enough attention to the internet), Christopher Lee (yes, 2 men known for their amazing voices), and so many more.
- For the American listener, the BBC put it up as a podcast as they released it in the UK. Bonus, you can still download it and listen.
- Neverwhere had already been adapted as a solid miniseries for the BBC, but with a relatively unknown cast (as far as the US was concerned). Bonus, Peter Capaldi was in that adaptation. It can be seen on Hulu still. It is easy to adapt.
- Many dramatic readings fall into the trouble of setting the scene. You lack the visual ability to show people things the way you can with film and video. Neverwhere managed it well, primarily because… well, spoilers!
Have you listened to a dramatic reading of a book? What did you enjoy?